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Food That Encourages Growth in Children

by Nancy Clarke, studioD

Getting the right nutrients on a daily basis prepares developing bodies for times of accelerated growth. While bone growth is important to building height in children, strong skeletal muscles are necessary to support the bones with good posture. For a strong musculoskeletal system, your kids need adequate protein, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, iron and vitamin C. The vitamins help young bodies use the other nutrients to build new muscle and bone cells and grow normally.

Yogurt and Milk

Give your kids their protein, potassium, calcium and vitamin D all in one source by offering fortified milk and yogurt. Three cups a day help them compile bone and muscle mass that will determine an important part of their future health as adults. To keep children from gaining weight, the American Heart Association recommends unsweetened low-fat yogurt and milk such as 1-percent or non-fat. Some prepared yogurts have as much as 12 g of protein per cup to address growth spurts.

Clam Chowder

The milk, clam and potato ingredients in clam chowder encourage new muscle and bone cell formation. The calcium and vitamin D in a suggested serving of soup can count toward your children's recommended daily 3 cups of dairy products. Clams provide some of the highest concentrations of iron available in any food, while milk, clams and potatoes all contain lots of protein and potassium.

Bean Burritos

With plenty of complex carbohydrates to energize busy kids, beans perform double duty in fueling growth. The pinto, black or refried beans in burritos make healthy alternative protein sources to meats and fish, while providing high iron, potassium, moderate calcium and vitamin C. Low-fat cheese contributes calcium and protein. A whole-wheat or spinach tortilla makes the most nutritious choice of wrap, adding significant protein, iron and other nutrients to children's diets.

Franks and Beans

Combining plant-based and animal-based iron and amino acids makes these nutrients more accessible to growing bodies. The frankfurters in canned franks and beans supply amino acids that are missing in the dietary protein in beans. The heme iron in the meat increases absorption of the nonheme iron in the beans. A tomato-based sauce also provides iron and potassium.


Pizza contains many ingredients that address children's needs in growing taller, beginning with the calcium and protein in cheese. Add various amounts and combinations of protein, potassium, iron and vitamin C content with a tomato sauce base and toppings such as meats, spinach, pineapple, green peppers and mushrooms. Trade the tomato sauce for creamy salad dressing and top with marinated chicken and veggies for an unexpected twist.

About the Author

Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.

Photo Credits

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